posted July 11, 2008 01:07:00 PM CDT | 23 comments

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Though he probably nailed down “The Biggest Movie Star in the Galaxy” title with recent turns in The Pursuit of Happyness and I Am Legend, Will Smith knocks out the Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt corners once and for all with this one. Say what you will about either, but there isn’t another man alive who can convince American families that watching a superhero curse, drink and put a man’s head up another man’s anus is nothing but wholesome fun.

While we’re on backsides, Hancock has no problems with you knowing he’s a real asshole. (You won’t want to actually say that term around him though; he hates it with a passion.) The dude is just like Super Man—only without any of the respect for mankind. When he reluctantly arrives at crime scenes, he has zero regard for the expensive cars he lands on or the millions in damages to the buildings he throws assailants through. He’s got facial hair like Wolverine. He drinks more than Tony Starks. He’s got a sicker sense of humor than The Joker. And frankly, the people of California are fed up with the Incredible Sulk and demand he disappear.

During one of his more costly rescues –Hancock stops a train with his bare hands. The visual of the box cars crumbling everywhere is a thing of CGI-aided beauty- he meets a public relations specialist named Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman). While others at the scene are upset, Embrey is thankful and offers to help the troubled hero with his tarnished image. Suffice it to say, the joint venture isn’t Batman and Robin from the jump. Hancock is slow to change. Oh, and that suit Ray gets for him looks a tad on the small side. Plus, there’s something about Ray’s wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), that just isn’t sitting right.

Like you’d expect from a Will Smith-starred holiday vehicle, the partnership works out. Just as the one between Smith and director Peter Berg (The Kingdom) fights off a few things –When Mary’s secret is revealed, the storyline gets lazy and loses some of its unique edge- and ultimately produces a decent flick about a blemished superhero. The laughs come via Hancock’s lack of people skills. The dropped jaws are from Berg’s ingenuity behind the lens. As for the resulting box office dominance, that’s just Will further proving that he’s the only man who can offer any film of any genre to any family and there not be any worries about satisfaction.

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